USC’s coaching search is starting to heat up after the team fired Clay Helton after an inexplicable 42-28 loss to Stanford last weekend. The Trojans unsurprisingly elected to make a change just 2 weeks into the season.

So, where does USC turn now?

Inside USC, the publisher of Sports Illustrated’s site on the Trojans, reported that Oregon head coach Mario Cristobal is the top candidate for the job.

“I hear that USC’s top choice for job is Oregon coach Mario Cristobal,” the tweet read.

Cristobal, of course, impressed the nation last week in Ducks 35-28 win over the Oho State Buckeyes, but Cristobal has been building a nice Pac-12 program for a while and certainly could win at USC. However, it would be a tough pull to get him out of Eugene, where he has one of the best brands in college football in Oregon.

Another coach garnering buzz is Penn State’s James Franklin. Dan Patrick reported that there is a mutual interest between Franklin and USC. Franklin, of course, has a huge game against Auburn Saturday in Happy Valley, and his candidacy could explode with a statement win. Franklin has issued a comment on the reports.

While other candidates will emerge over the next few weeks, it’s important to remember that Pete Carrol wasn’t USC’s top choice. He wasn’t even potentially in the top tier; however, he won big at the helm of the Trojans program.

Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano issued a strong statement on the opening, and UCF’s Gus Malzahn did, too. Former Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops has also been linked to the USC opening.